OPINION: Taking back (remote) control of my life

I HAVE a garage.

So what, you might ask, and you'd be justified.

But my poor car has been without a proper home for the past five years and now, living as I do a mere 200m from a pounding-surf, salt-laden-wind kind of beach, I'm so pleased to be able to tuck away my ageing Rav4, albeit in a very small space.

The area I'm in now has been populated by folks who either own tiny vehicles or those who have no intention of using their garages for anything other than storing sporting goods. My next door neighbours, who bought their house a mere month before I bought mine, can't fit their modest car into their garage at all; it was something they failed to check (as did I, I must confess). So I was quite relieved when I managed to shoehorn my trusty Toyota into a space that would have been much better had it been 20cm wider. I'll have to go on a quick diet so I can comfortably enter and exit.

It does come, however, with that most wonderful of inventions - a remote-controlled door. All I have to do is push a button on a gadget on my keyring and up it glides, as if by magic. It's one of those little things that you never realise you needed until after you have one.

I have owned a house once before with this convenience, and I loved it then for a different reason.

Back then I'd inherited a builder from some mates, who recommended him as he charged reasonable rates and did a good job. True, but they failed to mention that he, being a single man, was prone to hanging around after he'd packed away the tools in the hope of being invited to stay for dinner. I'd often oblige as I was cooking anyway, but after the job was finished he took to dropping by just before mealtimes several nights a week.

Now, I didn't mind when I was reaping the benefits of his lower charges, but it went on for a couple of years after, and I started to get a bit jack of it all.

Then, he made the fatal mistake of buying a sports car with a turbo-charged, full-throated, burbling V8 engine which I could hear coming from three blocks away.

Suddenly, every time he arrived the garage door had been opened from inside the house and I was exiting my front door, bag in hand, as he pulled up in the driveway. Oh, gosh, I'd say, sorry, I'm just on my way out. It worked every single time.

I love my remote-controlled door.

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